Sally Jewell is right for Interior job
~Brady Robinson, AF Executive Director
In many ways, running the Interior Department means you must intimately know the culture, landscapes, and industries of the American West. Being able to credibly wear cowboy boots or lobby for oil companies was once a job requirement for Interior secretary, now a backpack and climbing shoes are also suitable credentials. Next month the U.S. Senate will vote on Sally Jewell’s nomination as Interior secretary. Jewell brings extensive experience as CEO of Recreation Equipment Incorporation (REI), where under her leadership REI grew to 127 stores in 31 states with sales exceeding $1.8 billion annually.
Outdoor recreation experience is increasingly important for managing the millions of public land acres that support world-class recreational activities while also serving as economic assets for communities across the country. America needs an Interior Secretary that prioritizes the protection and enhancement of the recreation assets while also presiding over the record level of energy projects across the West.
Economies across the country that rely on public lands recreation are not only increasing in volume and number, but have outperformed most other communities that lack this sector. The Outdoor Industry Association reports that outdoor recreation generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year supporting 6.1 million direct jobs, three times the number of jobs in oil and gas. Sally Jewell’s nomination as Interior secretary acknowledges the importance of outdoor recreation as an economic driver for communities across the United States. Jewell’s professional experience has prepared her to oversee energy production on federal lands as well.
Sally’s detractors try to make her out as an extremist who steered REI to be an agent of her radical environmental agenda. But before heading to REI, Sally worked as an engineer, in the banking industry, and for Mobil Oil in Oklahoma’s oil fields. At REI Sally not only worked to protect the places that make outdoor recreation possible, thereby advancing REI’s business interests, she also created jobs and supported a growing economic sector in the process.
Jewell’s experience in the oil and gas industry, as well as at REI, means she has an acute understanding of the balance that must be struck on public lands. If confirmed as Interior secretary, Jewell would be one of the few to actually share the passions of the majority of people who use the 500 million acres of public land under that department’s control. We believe she is up to the task.